Creating a new forum

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A comprehensive guide to bbPress with clear and concise instructions on expanding your WordPress site with a community forum with this book and ebook

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by Rhys Wynne | August 2013 | MySQL e-Commerce Open Source PHP

This article by Rhys Wynne, author of bbPress Complete, covers how to create a forum in bbPress.

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

In the WordPress Administration, click on New Forum, which is a subpage of the Forums menu item on the sidebar. You will be taken to a screen that is quite similar to a WordPress post creation page, but slightly different with a few extra areas:

If you are not familiar with the WordPress post creation page, the following is a list of the page's features:

The Enter Title Here box

The long box on the top of the page is your forum title. This, on the forum page, will be what is clicked on, and will also provide the basis for the forum's URL Slug with some changes, as URL Slugs generally have to be letters, numbers, and dashes. So for example, if your forum title is My Product's Support Section, your Slug will probably be my-products-support-section.

When you insert the forum title, the URL Slug will be generated below. However, if you wish to change it, click on the yellow highlighted section to change the Slug, and then click on OK.

The Post box

Beneath the title box is the post box. This should contain your forum description. This will be shown beneath your forum's name on the forum index page. You can add rich text to this, such as bold or italicized text, but my advice is to keep this short. One or two lines of text would suffice, otherwise it could make your forum look peculiar.

Forum attributes

Towards the right-hand side of the screen, you should see a Forum Attributes section. bbPress allows to set a number of different attributes for your created forum. The attributes are explained in detail as follows:

  • Forum type: Your forum can be one of two types: "Forum" or "Category". Category is a section of the site where you cannot post, but forums are grouped in. So for example, if you have forums for "Football", "Cricket", and "Athletics", you may group them into a "Sport" category.
  • Unless you have a large forum with a number of different areas, you shouldn't need many categories. Normally you would begin with a few forums, but then as your forums grow, you would introduce categories.

    If you create a category, any forum you create must be a subforum of the category. We will talk about creating subforums later in this article.

  • Status: Your forum's status indicates if other users can post in the forum. If the status is "Open", any user can post in the forum. If the forum is "Closed", nobody can contribute other than Keymasters. Unless one of your forums is a "Forum Rules" forum, you would probably keep all forums as Open.
  • Visibility: bbPress allows three types of forum visibility . These, as the names suggest, decide who gets to see the forums. The three options are as follows:
    • Public: This type allows anybody visiting the site to see the forum and its contents.
    • Private: This type allows users who are logged in to view and contribute to the forum, but the forum is hidden from users that are not logged in or users that are blocked. Private forums are prefixed with the word "Private".
    • Hidden: This type allows only Moderators and Keymasters to view the forum.

    Most forums will probably have majority of their forums set to Public, but have selections that are Private or Hidden. Usually, having a Hidden forum to discuss forum matters with Administrators or Moderators is a good thing. You can have a private forum as well that could help encourage people to register on the site.

  • Parent: You can have subforums of forums. By giving a parent to the forum, you make it a subforum. An example of this would be if you had a "Travel" forum, you can have subforums dedicated to "Europe", "Australia", and "Asia". Again, you will probably start with just a few forums, but over time, you will probably grow your forum to include subforums.
  • Order: The Order field helps define the order in which your forums are listed. By default, or if unspecified, the order is always alphabetical. However, if you give a number, then the order of the forum will be determined by the Order number, from smallest to largest. It is good to put important forums at the top, and less important forums towards the bottom of the page.

    It's a good idea to number your orders in multiples of 10, rather than 1, 2, 3, and so on. That way, if you want to add a forum to your site that will be between two other forums, you can add it in with a number between the two multiples of 10, thus saving time.

Now that you have set up a forum, click on publish, and congratulations, you should have a forum!

Editing and deleting forums

Forums are a community, and like all good communities, they evolve over time depending on their user's needs. As such, over time, you may need to restructure or delete forums. Luckily, this is easily done. First, click on Forums in the sidebar of the WordPress Administration. You should see a list of all the current forums you have on your site:

If you hover over a forum, two options will appear: Edit, which will allow you to edit the forum. A screen similar to the New Forum page will appear, which will allow you to make changes to your forum.

The second option is Trash, which will move your forum into Trash. After a while, it will be deleted from your site.

When you click on Trash, you will trash everything associated with your forum (any topics, replies, or tags will be deleted). Be careful!

Summary

Right now, you should have a bustling forum, ably overseen by yourself and maybe even a couple of Moderators.Remember that all I have described so far has been how to use bbPress to manage your forum, and not how to manage your forum. Each forum will have its own rules and guidelines, and you will eventually learn how to manage your bbPress forum with more and more members joining in.A general rule of thumb, though, is set out your rules at the start of your forum, welcome change, act quickly on violations, and most importantly, treat your users with respect. As without users, you will have a very quiet forum. However, bbPress is a WordPress plugin, and in itself can be extensible and can take advantage of plugins and themes, both specifically designed for bbPress or even those that work with WordPress.

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bbPress Complete A comprehensive guide to bbPress with clear and concise instructions on expanding your WordPress site with a community forum with this book and ebook
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About the Author :


Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is a web developer and Internet marketer originally from Colwyn Bay, North Wales, though now based in Manchester. Rhys has over seven years of commercial experience in developing websites, the majority of which have been built in WordPress. Rhys has over three years of experience in developing bbPress websites, and has released a number of plugins both for free and for commercial use. One such plugin, WP Email Capture, has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times.

Apart from Internet technologies, Rhys is a keen football fan, supporting his hometown team of Colwyn Bay, and he also enjoys traveling and photography.

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